My Other Job: Karren Winchester, corporate role play
What’s your other job?
I work an actor, facilitator and coach, in training, development, recruitment and examinations across a wide range of businesses and organisations.
How and when did you get into it?
Aha! I had a friend already role playing who introduced me. I had an audition, and then they were so keen to work with me they employed me... two years later.
What happens if an acting audition comes in?
I find the best way to get an audition is to commit to something else. Any company that advertises that they use professional working actors should understand that castings usually happen very last minute. That said, I have had to turn commercial castings down a couple of times over the years and I once had a battle to get to a TV casting. Other than that, it's worked well and I have never let anyone down.
What makes it a good other job for you as an actor?
It can be very rewarding, challenging, varied and often great fun. Much of the time, you will be working with loads of other actors - 50 a day on some jobs - so you're still part of a company. I have met people from all walks of life and travelled around the UK and abroad, from Washington to Singapore, learning a great deal about other people's lives along the way. Best of all, it pays well.
Does being an actor help you do it?
Getting under other people's skins is a useful, transferable skill
Other than the obvious improvisation and scripted scenarios, coaching and facilitation require many of the attributes and tools which we use intuitively - our communication skills, listening skills, empathy and awareness of the impact we (or the characters we play) have on the receiving party. Getting under other people's skins is a useful, transferable skill. Actors can also think on their feet. We can be impulsive and adaptable. We can learn content quickly. We tend to be confident and will always be audible.
And does doing it help you as an actor?
Certainly the consistency required in examination situations - in order to ensure that all candidates are fairly tested - is a great way to maintain the discipline filming requires for consistency between takes. It's also gives the improvisational muscles a workout.
Would you recommend your other job to other actors?
Yes most definitely. As for applying, it's useful if you can drop a name of a friend already in the 'clique'. If they say "don't phone" – don't. Never write when introducing yourself that you're looking for a way to make money when you're out of acting work. That sounds obvious but lots of people do and it gives a terrible impression. Finally, be persistent – you have more to offer than you realise.